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Data show Jacksonville workforce in dire straits due to pandemic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The coronavirus pandemic and the unprecedented economic shutdown has had a more profound impact in Jacksonville than almost any other city of similar size in the country according to a new study.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the U.S. Census Bureau, the E-commerce company Volusion found the Jacksonville workforce is the 6th most impacted in the nation during the pandemic among large US metro areas.

Among its findings, data shows found that 23.3% of the Jacksonville metro area's workforce operates in the retail trade and leisure and hospitality industries, one of the hardest-hit industries in the country.

The study shows American workers in retail, leisure, and hospitality not only face unemployment but also below-average wages

According to the latest annual data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for workers in the retail trade and leisure and hospitality sectors was just $19.70 and $16.55 in 2019, compared to $28 per hour across all workers.

Here is the summary of the data for the Jacksonville, FL metro:

• Share of employment in retail, leisure, and hospitality: 23.3%

• Total retail workers: 82,000

• Total leisure and hospitality workers: 86,800

• Cost of living: 4.6% below average

• Percent below the poverty level: 12.2%

Las Vegas topped the Volusion list. Orlando was second. Both cities rely heavily on those industries and the same type of workforce.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis plans to reopen the state includes focusing on having Florida residents take staycations. His hope is it will help those sectors of the economy begin to rebound and improve things for Florida’s unemployed workers.

Read the Volusion study.

How the study was conducted:

To find the locations with the workforces most impacted by COVID-19, researchers at Volusion used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the U.S. Census Bureau. The researchers ranked metro areas according to the share of workers employed in the retail trade and leisure and hospitality industries. Researchers also looked at the total number of retail trade workers, the total number of leisure and hospitality workers, the cost of living, and the percent of residents below the poverty level.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, metro areas were grouped into the following cohorts based on population size:

  • Small metros: 100,000-349,999
  • Midsize metros: 350,000-999,999
  • Large metros: 1,000,000 or more

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